Several residents living near Summerville’s Five Points Intersection have spoken out in opposition to a roundabout but the Summerville Town Council still considers it a viable option for improving safety and easing traffic congestion.
On Thursday evening, during the town’s monthly council meeting, a handful of residents again addressed their concerns about a roundabout. After much discussion, council members authorized the public works department to spend up to $25,000 to obtain more detailed designs of the project.
Crash data from the last three years shows there have been 60 crashes and 13 injuries at the intersection where Carolina Avenue, Main Street, and Tupper Lane come together.
Earlier this summer, Russ Cornette, the town’s director of public works, presented the results of an intersection improvement study to the town council. Town staff recommended changing the intersection into a two-lane roundabout and closing Tupper Lane by turning it into a cul-de-sac. The project would require using 18,000 square feet of property, roughly 7,000 of which would come from the property of homeowners living near the intersection. Cost for the changes would range between $830,000 and $874,750, with those funds coming from the town’s Public Works budget.
One of the major sticking points for both council members and residents has been the closure of Tupper Lane. Several residents have cited public safety as a concern, saying that if the road is cut off from the intersection, then fire trucks or EMS would be slowed in reaching the homes on Tupper Lane.
Other concerns include property loss and diminishing the unique character of the town’s historic district. Diane Sarrocco lives at 1000 S Main Street. She said a roundabout could have a “drastic negative impact” on her property.
“This is the gateway to the Historic District,” Sarrocco said. “Once it is altered, there will be no going back.”
Sarrocco said 20 percent of her property would be taken through the condemnation process, leaving only 38 feet of distance from her house, to the roundabout- a little too close for comfort.
Three of her neighbors also addressed the topic of property loss. Susan Jaques, who lives at 1002 S. Main St., said there is “no adequate compensation” for the depreciation of her property. And Brian Goldsberry, of 100 West Carolina, said his property stands to be greatly impacted as well.
The topic of the Berlin G. Myers Parkway was also brought up multiple times. Residents urged council members to wait until the Berlin G. Myers Parkway extension is complete before making changes to the Five Points Intersection. Town staff have said the extension, estimated to be complete in 2023, will pull at least 25 percent of traffic congestion from Main Street.
Councilman Bill McIntosh expressed doubt that the extension would be completed in that time frame and said part of him thinks it will never be built.
Overall, council members agreed that they wanted to see more exact designs of the project before deciding whether to move forward with permitting. Cornette said he expects to present his findings to the town council in December or January.